What can I do with a major in music?

Search for opportunities

Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam)
Ontario Center for Performing Arts
Apple Computer

Musical Engineer
Music Therapist
Freelance Musician

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 2,757
Employers in US: 27,902


Explore the numerous career fields related to your major


Private Lessons


K-12 schools, public and private 
Colleges and universities 
Daycare centers
Recreation centers 
Children's music programs (franchises, local) 

Sample occupations

Acquire teaching certificate for public school teaching. Learn about requirements by state.
Earn a graduate degree to teach in higher education. Specialize in an area such as music theory, composition, music history, etc.
Performance skill on one instrument or voice is required.
Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work experiences.
Join the National Association for Music Education as a collegiate member.
Develop business relationships with schools and/or music stores to increase client base.




Orchestras: philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Armed Forces bands and orchestras
Small ensembles
Rock or jazz groups
Dance bands
Concert soloist
Clubs and restaurants
Church choirs
Community choral groups
Opera companies
Musical theaters
Ballet productions
Recording industry
Radio, television, and motion picture industries
Cruise lines
Amusement parks

Sample occupations

Develop musical talent and skill.
Obtain formal training to acquire necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to interpret music.
Demonstrate ambition and showmanship.
Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts.
Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition.
Auditions are generally required to join bands or get jobs.
Be willing to move to a large city with more opportunities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas, or Chicago.
Network with people in the industry to learn about potential jobs.
Opportunities are very limited. Most performers have other careers.


Musician Selection


Orchestras: philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Armed Forces bands and orchestras
Various bands
Choral groups
Opera companies
Musical theater companies

Sample occupations

Develop superior musicianship and leadership.
Acquire extensive experience in performing groups.
Develop advanced site-reading skills.
Learn other languages such as French, German, Latin, and Italian.
Gain acceptance into a conductor-training program or related apprenticeship.
Opportunities are extremely limited.




Record companies
Motion picture and television industries
Production companies
Orchestras: philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Opera companies
Musical theater groups
Ballet troupes

Sample occupations

Knowledge of composition, harmony, arranging, and theory are important.
Skill on one or more instruments and voice are necessary. Play an instrument in a professional arena.
Become familiar with all types of music productions.
Learn how to use electronic instruments and synthesizers.
Develop computer and desktop publishing expertise.
Attend music conferences and workshops.
Seek grants and awards through foundations, e.g. one from the National Endowment of the Arts.
Very few musicians earn living through composing.

Music Libraries

Colleges and universities
Public libraries
Radio and television stations
Motion picture studies

Sample occupations

Develop computer and research skills.
Gain thorough knowledge of music and musicology.
Earn a master's degree in library/information science.
Work in a campus or public library to gain relevant experience.
Develop good organizational and technology skills.
Learn to understand foreign languages, particularly Italian, Latin, German, and French.
Join the Music Library Association.

Communications (Broadcasting)

Music and Program Direction
On-Air Performance
Voice Overs
Copyright/Clearance Administration
Music License Administration
Music Editing, Production, and Composing
Sound Mixing
Post Production


Radio and television stations
Virtual reality sound environments e.g. Internet sites, software creators

Sample occupations

Take classes in communications, broadcasting, or journalism.
Work at on-campus radio station.
Complete an internship at a television or radio station.
Develop computer-related skills such as software development and programming.

Music Therapy

Hospitals: general and psychiatric
Special education facilities
Mental health centers
Nursing homes and senior centers
Rehabilitation centers
Correctional facilities
Private practice
Outpatient clinics

Sample occupations

Take courses in psychology, social work, or education.
Earn a master's degree in music therapy and seek certification.
Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting.
Demonstrate a genuine interest in helping people.
Learn to work well with all types of people.
Develop a broad array of musical talents.

Behind the Scenes

Audio Technician
Boom Operator
General Director
Music Video Producer
Recording Engineer
Set Up
Rerecording Mixer
Sound Engineer
Sound Technician
Sound/Production Mixer
Stage Manager


Local bands
Regional bands
Production companies
Theater groups
Armed Forces
Radio, television, and motion picture industries

Sample occupations

Shadow an individual who is in the music industry in an area of interest.
Volunteer in community, school, or church productions.
Gain expertise in the areas of musical and technical knowledge, sound board, and sound equipment.
Take courses in areas such as broadcasting, engineering, or computer science to learn technical skills.
Complete an internship with a recording company or other relevant organization.
Research seminars, workshops, and professional associations that could provide useful information or contacts.
Check trade journals and association bulletins for possible employment.

Music Industry/Business

Publishing and Editing
Talent Acquisition
Artist/Talent Representation
Promotion/Media Relations
Product Management
Business Management
Retail Sales


Production recording studios (most located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville)
Music management groups
Music and record stores
Instrument manufacturers

Sample occupations

Complete an internship at a record company.
Take business courses to work in management or administration.
Journalism, public relations, and communication classes are helpful for work in areas of promotion.
Gain sales experience for marketing. Learn to interact well with people and develop persuasion tools.
Knowledge of electronics, audio engineering, and recording knowledge required for production. Work or volunteer at a campus or local radio station. Join organizations involved with bringing events and entertainment to campus.
Work at a retail record store to learn about the industry.
Volunteer to help promote a local or campus band with their promotions and bookings.
Gain a broad knowledge of music and the industry.
Build a strong network of contacts.
Develop skills such as negotiation, assertiveness, the ability to recognize talent, and working under pressure.


Music Journalism
Music Analysis


Music-related publications
Magazines and newspapers
Entertainment or music focused Internet sites
Entertainment law firms
Production companies

Sample occupations

Take courses in journalism and English.
Write articles for campus newspaper.
Prepare for law school and earn a law degree (J.D.)
For music analysis:

  • Develop the ability to read and transcribe well.
  • Gain knowledge with use of high tech digital computers to analyze music.

General information and strategies

  • Majoring in music provides students with a sense of aesthetics and an understanding of human expression valuable to many employers.
  • Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
  • Finding positions in the music industry requires a combination of talent, training, connections and some luck. Perserverance is required!
  • Develop a variety of skills. Become "multi-talented."
  • As an undergraduate, gain as much experience as possible, paid or unpaid, through college and local organizations. Seek internships or volunteer positions with relevant organizations.
  • Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success in many arenas of music. Learn basic tools of self-promotion.
  • Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds. Research the industry to learn which ones are appropriate.
  • Performers often travel frequently and should be flexible regarding their work schedules.
  • Moving to a larger city such as Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, or Chicago to find more job opportunities can be beneficial.
  • Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts.
  • Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition.
  • Attend music conferences and workshops.
  • Seek grants and awards through foundations, e.g. from the National Endowment of the Arts.
  • Shadow an individual who is in the music industry in an area of interest.